This week’s topic is anything but bucolic, yet noteworthy nonetheless. In short, we spread manure last weekend: heavy (nay, stinky), but necessary, work to guarantee quality organic produce throughout the season. The manure is delivered by the 10-wheeler, 15-tonne truckload, deposited in an odorous dark brown swath along the field’s edge. To the uninitiated nostril, there seems to be little difference between types — but the discerning nose recognizes the various grades of animal fertilizer ranging from pungent liquid pork manure to sweet-smelling horse manure. In between you’ll find a multitude of variations on a theme, ranging from dried chicken droppings to cow dung…the latter particularly odoriferous and rich in key vegetable nutrients nitrogen and potassium. And so Saturday saw us spreading a mix of chicken and pork manure — excellent soil amendments for next year’s (2016) most demanding crops. There was a time when animal farmers couldn’t find enough takers for their manure. These days, organically certifiable manure is in short supply, leading us to cultivate our relationships with our neighbours to ensure next season’s yields.